Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that causes pain, itching and unusual discharge. There are a few different types of vaginitis, including bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Because there is more than one type of vaginitis, there is a range of causes. However, overall, vaginitis is caused by an infection or an imbalance of vaginal bacteria, and you can do some specific things to decrease your susceptibility.
Here are nine things to avoid to decrease your chances of contracting vaginitis.
Bubble baths may seem luxurious and relaxing, but how luxurious and relaxing are itching and irritation? The chemicals in bubble bath soaps, salts and oils can aggravate your sensitive body parts, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your vagina always has a small amount of fungus living in it that feeds on glucose, or sugar. When your blood sugar rises, the fungus grows because there is more sugar for it to feed on. This can lead to an imbalance of the naturally occurring "flora" in the vagina, according to Dr. Gayl Hyde for livestrong.org. To prevent this imbalance and subsequent infection, cut down on your sugar intake.
Being fashionable could be negatively affecting your health. Clothing that locks in heat and moisture creates a breeding ground for infection. Tight jeans, nylon underwear and nonbreathable leggings don't allow for proper circulation. It is especially important to wear breathable clothing when working out.
While many people are trying nondairy diets for their health, it could hurt the overall health of your intestinal tract and vagina. For example, yogurt contains bacteria that helps the good bacteria in those areas grow and staves off the bad kind. Check yogurt labels for active cultures to make sure you are getting the most out of your tasty dairy, and don't buy the kinds that are highly sweetened and processed.
Many forms of birth control, such as pills, patches and shots, contain estrogen, which can increase yeast production. If you are concerned about vaginitis, avoid these types of birth control. Speak to a health care professional if you want to make a switch.
Not sleeping enough
You already know that to keep your immune system running at full power you need to let it rest. This is no different when it comes to fighting off vaginitis. To keep your acid and bacteria levels normal, make sure you get enough rest.
Not changing out of your swimsuit
Make sure you change out of your bathing suit as soon as you're done playing at the beach or the pool. Yeast likes to congregate in warm, damp areas so it's important to keep yourself dry down there.
Because bacteria growth is correlated to a rise in blood sugar, women with diabetes are more susceptible to vaginitis and should take special care to regulate their blood sugar levels by eating properly, exercising regularly and managing stress and illness, as the American Diabetes Association notes.
Because visiting an OB-GYN can be uncomfortable, many women make the mistake of diagnosing themselves and exacerbating the problem. For example, yeast infections have similar symptoms to bacterial vaginosis (which needs to be treated with antibiotics) so it can be easy for nonprofessionals to confuse the two. Don't make the error of attempting to diagnose yourself.